Nilanjana S. Roy writes in the International Herald Tribune on India’s first women’s emergency mobile phone app, called “FightBack”:
It took a year to develop the FightBack app, which aims to address what many believe to be chronic under-reporting of crimes in the capital. For example, the National Commission for Women, a government agency, has recorded 526 complaints of harassment by women from Delhi so far this year that were not reported to the police, and it noted that complaints of police apathy were common.
The Delhi Police Department has a dedicated Crimes Against Women section, which was set up in 1983, in response to the lack of training among personnel in handling crimes against women, as the former joint commissioner of the police, Kanwaljeet Deol, wrote.
“The sensitiveness of the average police officer when dealing with a harassed and frightened woman left much to be desired,” Ms. Deol wrote in a paper assessing general police conduct in 2005. Six years later, the special section seems to have made a difference, but many women remain reluctant to go to a police station, out of fear of the police or family pressure not to report crimes.
This is where FightBack hopes to make a difference.
“There is an absence of concrete data on crimes against women,” said Mr. Sengupta, who believes that the availability of more information — about the nature of the violence women face and the locations where they are most likely to encounter it — is crucial to changing the situation.
In its first year, the FightBack app will be a paid download, affordable at less than 100 rupees, or about $2, and will be in English, before being rolled out in Hindi and other Indian languages. More: